Cathrine Brendstuen is a first-year M.A. student, specializing in English/TESOL. Cathrine has earned a B.A. in secondary education and English from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and is a member of USD's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. This is her third year of teaching. She has experience teaching in the middle- and secondary school setting, as well as teaching English to refugees at ages ranging from 14 to 55. Cathrine is interested in world Englishes, modern English language, teaching English and literature, multiculturalism and human relations, as well as cultural studies and adult education.
Chelsea Campbell earned a B.A. in English in 2015 from the University of South Dakota and is currently an M.A. candidate on the critical literature track. She has experience as a writing consultant and ESL conversationalist. Chelsea teaches freshman English courses and is also a member of USD’s chapter Sigma Tau Delta. As a recipient of the U. Discover Summer Scholar award, she has researched Shakespeare’s influence on 19th-century South Dakota’s settler populations and has presented her findings at USD’s IdeaFest and First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare! Her research and literary interests are in postcolonialism, gender studies and disability studies.
Leslie J. Claussen holds a B.A. in English from USD and is currently working on a M.A. in English. She is vice president of USD’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and edits fiction entries for the South Dakota Review. She has recently presented papers at the USD John R. Milton Conference in 2016 and the Sigma Tau Delta Regional Conference in 2015. She will present at the Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Conference at USD in 2017. Her academic and creative interests include posthuman theory, gender studies and feminism, madness and both short fiction and creative non-fiction. Her M.A. thesis is titled Delicate Chemicals.
Hanna Conrad is a third-year M.A. student, specializing in literature. She will officially graduate in spring 2018 after defending her two papers, "Black Naturalism and Ideology in Ann Petry’s The Street," and "Holistic Healing as Resistance: Caridad’s Embrace of New Mestiza Ideology in Ana Castillo’s So Far From God." Hanna recently presented her “Holistic Healing as Resistance” paper at the LangRhet Conference at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in October 2017. She also presented in spring 2017 at USD’s IdeaFest as part of the panel, “’Why should I know and what, and what is the end of knowing?’: A Panel on Identity, Education, and Spirituality in the Writings of W. E. B. DuBois” with her paper focusing on DuBois’s The Souls of Black Folk. She is the treasurer of Sigma Tau Delta and has served as a member of GSAC. Hanna will soon begin her career at the University of South Dakota in the Marketing & University Relations department as a web editor.
Simon Ferrell is a critical-track Ph.D. student specializing in 20th- and 21st-century British literature. He earned his B.A. from Augustana University and his M.A. from the University of South Dakota. A two-time Emily Haddad Graduate Teaching Award recipient, Simon has taught at the University of South Dakota, Augustana University and the University of Iowa. Recently, he has presented at the Louisville Conference on Literature & Culture Since 1900 in Louisville, Kentucky; the Midwest Modern Language Association conference in Detroit, Michigan; and the American Conference for Irish Studies - Western Region in Rapid City, South Dakota. He has published in the International Journal of Zizek Studies. His dissertation focuses on structures of violence, futurity, the nation-state, and the demands of capitalist modernity within postmodern archipelagic British and Irish literature.
Kacie Fodness is a critical-track Ph.D. student specializing in 19th-century American literature. Her primary interest is in the American Renaissance tradition - in particular, the work of Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson and Ralph Waldo Emerson - as well as those authors writing in the literary moment that would follow (Edith Wharton and Rebecca Harding Davis). Kacie’s theoretical interests are grounded in genre studies, considerations of history and form, and epistemologies of language/representation. Kacie received her MA from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her thesis, entitled “‘Ashes Denote that Fire Was’: The Poetics of Space in Melville and Dickinson,” was the 2011 winner of the Alvan S. Ryan Award for Best Literature Paper in the MA English Department. She has presented at several conferences in both Literature and Composition & Rhetoric. Most recently, Kacie was invited to present a paper entitled “Nothing less is here essayed”: Language and Authorship in Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt and Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick” as a part of the Melville Society’s panel at the 2017 American Literature Association (ALA) Conference in Boston. An abstract of her presentation will appear in upcoming issue of Leviathan and her work on a group-authored article covering conference proceedings will be published in Emerson Society Quarterly (ESQ) this year.
Erin Frink has a B.A. and M.A. in English with a minor in Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa. Her thesis is titled “Romantic Melancholy: European Post-Enlightenment Protest in the Age of Reason.” She is currently a Ph.D. student and teaching assistant on the critical-track at the University of South Dakota. Her specialization includes 19th and late 18th-century British Victorian and Romantic literature as well as 19th and 18th century Spanish Romanticism. She has also instructed at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo, Iowa. She recently presented at the 2016 Crime and Criminality conference for the Carolina Graduate Literature Society at the University of South Carolina. She will present work at the 2018 College English Association conference in St. Petersburg, Florida as well as the Frankenstein 200! Symposium at the University of South Dakota.
Justin Gray fell in love with the study of literature at Brooklyn College and after receiving his bachelor’s degree, decided to continue his education as a graduate student on the creative track at the University of South Dakota. This past fall Justin presented a paper titled, “Finding Humanity Through Ridicule: Understanding Racism and Nationalism Through the Films of Mel Brooks” at the Midwest Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association conference in St. Louis, Missouri. He is currently working on a collection of short stories for his master’s thesis tentatively titled The Revolution on Magnolia Avenue. Justin lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and child. He doesn’t have time to talk right now.
Avery Moselle Guess is a recipient of 2015 NEA Fellowship for Poetry, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and residencies from the Albee Foundation and the Ragdale Foundation. She is a Ph.D. student in creative writing and poetry at the University of South Dakota and assistant editor for poetry at South Dakota Review. Recent and forthcoming publications include poems in Crab Orchard Review, Moon City Review, Thrush, Rogue Agent, Tinderbox, Glass, Rust + Moth and Deaf Poets Society and creative non-fiction in Entropy and The Manifest-Station. The Patient Admits, a poetry chapbook, was released by dancing girl press in September 2017. Her first full-length collection of poetry, The Truth Is, will be published in April 2019 by Black Lawrence Press.
Elin Hægeland is a first-year M.A. candidate from Norway, specializing in literature. She holds a B.A. in English and classics from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She has experience teaching Latin and is now a teaching assistant here at USD. Her interests include, but are not limited to, postcolonialism, postmodernism and multicultural literature. Norwegian-American immigration literature also holds a special place in her heart.
Danielle Harms has been teaching English in Watertown, South Dakota for nine years. She gets to hang out with 15- and 16-year-old students all day long. In addition to teaching, she coaches high school debate and spends her weekends running debate tournaments throughout the state. She also is the co-president of the Speech Communication Association of South Dakota. Her main area of interest is war literature, particularly literature from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In her free time, she enjoys listening to audiobooks while bicycling.
Jenna Hayes is a M.A. student specializing in literature. She earned her B.A. in English and anthropology from the University of South Dakota. Jenna is an alumna of the U.S. Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship and studied Russian language and culture while living in the Russian Federation during the summer of 2016. She is a member of USD’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and is an associate editor for prose at the South Dakota Review. She is interested in realism and naturalism, and especially adores the work of Anton Chekhov, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Edith Wharton and Henry James. Her academic and research interests include 19th- and 20th-century literature, feminism, cultural anthropology, Russian literature, Marxism, archaeology and international relations. Jenna also worked on an archaeological excavation near Rawlins, Wyoming, where she assisted with an ongoing excavation in the Teton National Park Reservoir. The project’s goal is to obtain a better sense of what life was like for the past inhabitants who lived in the region, as well as to skillfully articulate that information to the general public.
Laurie Johns is a second-year M.A. English candidate with a specialization in TESOL. Laurie earned her B.A. in German from the University of South Dakota in 1986. She also attended Frederich Alexandar Universität in Erlangen, Germany. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and southeast Asia. Her interests are diverse. She has been committed to the study of yoga since 2004. She also paints and writes poetry and her work has appeared in The Briar Cliff Review.
Chris Kaiser holds a B.A. in English from Northern State University and an M.A. in English from USD. He is currently in his first year of Ph.D. work at USD, specializing in creative writing with a particular focus on historical fiction and short stories. His interests include American naturalism, gothic, modern and postmodern literatures, including the works of Edgar Allen Poe, James Joyce and Thomas Pynchon. He edits fiction submissions for the South Dakota Review.
Meggin Killion is a first-year M.A. candidate specializing in creative writing. Meggin has earned a B.A. in English from the University of South Dakota and is a member of USD's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. She has four years of experience working in the USD Writing Center and acted as editor-in-chief for the Vermillion Literary Project in 2016. Meggin is interested in creative writing (with a focus on poetry), gender and women's studies, feminist theory, communications publishing and teaching English and creative writing for secondary education.
Teri Kramer received her M.F.A. at the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a poetry emphasis and is currently working on her Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of South Dakota. Her background as a writer includes previously holding a position as a publishing coordinator for Horse & Rider magazine and working for a decade as a high school English instructor. Currently, Kramer is a teaching assistant at the University of South Dakota while she works on her degree. She enjoys researching the benefits of writing witness poetry and how writing after trauma can heal both the writer and the collective. She uses her studies and background in this area to inform her poetry and creative nonfiction.
David Levine grew up in the poorly named town of New City, New York. He is a creative track Ph.D. student whose emphasis is in poetry. He earned an M.F.A. in poetry from Colorado University and a B.A. in math and English from Cornell University. His primary research interests are poetry, creative nonfiction, modernism and media studies, and his work has been published in Painted Bride Quarterly, DREGINALD, UCity Review, White Whale Review, Utter, and Vinyl.
Philip MacKenzie is in the final stages of the Ph.D. program, having successfully passed his exams over this past summer. He is working closely with Professor Lee Roripaugh and Skip Willman, Ph.D., from the Department of English and Molly Rozum, Ph.D. from the Department of History, on his dissertation project tentatively titled The Dead Don’t Mind: A Speculative-Fiction Novel. Since 2014, he has been an instructor and the SSS Writing Lab director at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. He teaches composition courses and also works on multiple service projects, especially with developmental education and non-traditional students, and these experiences have helped shape his professional research interests.
Cheyenne Marco grew up on a Minnesota poultry farm and finds inspiration for her writing, research, and teaching in her rural background. Her main areas of interest are creative writing (with an emphasis on prose) and agrarian literature. In addition to teaching, she serves as circulations manager for the South Dakota Review, does outreach for Friends of the Big Sioux River, contributes to the family farm and fantasizes about sleep. Her works have appeared in Rathalla Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Turk’s Head Review and Prairie Winds, among others.
Sarah Meirose is a second-year M.A. English candidate with a specialization in creative writing. Sarah earned her B.A. in English from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where she also participated in community poetry readings and had multiple poetic works published by JMU’s foremost literary magazine, Gardy Loo!. Her main areas of interest include early 20th-century literature, narrative theory and performance studies. Sarah is the president of USD's Alpha Mu Phi chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, and her one-act play Sunspots is a recent recipient of the Wayne S. & Esther M. Knutson Playwriting Award. Sarah's creative thesis-in-progress, tentatively titled Dearest: A Dictionary of Accepted Ideas, seeks to engage with the flexibility of memory via word-association and the hypertextuality of writing one's own life.
Raul Benjamin Moreno is a doctoral student in the Department of English at USD, an English instructor at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington, and a student media advisor at Washington State University Vancouver. He is currently at work on his creative dissertation, a collection of linked prose titled The Land of Infinite Variety that narrates a series of attempts at homecoming in the West and beyond. Raul’s essays and stories have been published by outlets such as The Normal School,Hobart,Quarterly West and Drunken Boat. His teaching interests include the short story, creative nonfiction, multimodal composition, journalism and fieldwork. Recent presentations have included panels at the AWP Conference and Bookfair, the Western Literature Association and the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association. Currently, Raul edits nonfiction for South Dakota Review.
Heather Phillips is a first-year M.A. candidate, specializing in TESOL. She holds a B.A. in English from Southern Connecticut State University and an M.S. in Professional Writing from Towson University. Having taught English in the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Thailand and the Czech Republic, she has a keen interest in world Englishes, multiculturalism and creative nonfiction. She has published essays as Heather Corrigan in North American Review, Ascent, Connecticut Review, Louisville Review, Oyez Review, Litro magazine and Lowestoft Chronicle, among others. Her essay “Widmarked” was a 2015 finalist in Southeast Review’s Narrative Nonfiction contest and her essay “Death and Fat Sandwiches” was a finalist in the 2010 William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing competition for essay.
Kevin Phillips is currently working on his Ph.D. in creative writing (fiction) at the University of South Dakota. He has an M.A. in ancient history from the University of Minnesota and an M.F.A. in fiction from Louisiana State University. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Bryant Literary Review, CC&D Magazine,Hippocampus, Dangling Modifier and (forthcoming) The North American Review, for which his essay, "Eight Hours, with Cow," just won the 2017 Torch Prize for Creative Nonfiction. His current novel project, The Mother of Dust, earned a finalist slot for best novel-in-progress at the Words and Music Literary Festival in New Orleans.
Holly Jean Ríchard is a Ph.D. candidate in 20th century American literature. Ríchard’s dissertation in process, “The Mighty, the Muddy, and the Toxic: Water Ethics for the Environmental Crisis in Women’s Ecofeminist Bioregional Literature,” analyzes the roles women and women’s literature play in the environmental movement. With an environmental crisis now evidenced by our planet, our bodies and our minds, Ríchard focuses critically on what women are saying about water and how it informs our environmental consciousness, actions and public policies. She spent a decade instructing composition, literature, grammar, business writing, multicultural studies and women’s studies at the university level. She has been an assistant editor for the South Dakota Review and a reviewer for MultiCultural Review. Outside of the university, Ríchard has worked in communications, social services, public policy, as well as elementary and secondary education. An activist and artist in many mediums, she spends most of her time mothering two little feminists, sustainably growing food and tending animals on her homestead called TheTelescopeFarm, looking at the stars with her scientist-husband and writing creative nonfiction.
Grant Riedel is an artist who hails from the Midwest. He holds both a B.A. in art and a M.A. in creative writing from the University of Northern Iowa. His interests are teaching, general fiction, publishing and conceptual poetry. Currently, Grant is the assistant managing editor of Astrophil Press. His prose and poetry has appeared in journals such as The Black Fox Literary Magazine and The North American Review. Grant’s dissertation is titled EMIT, a fictive rendition of the misconception of time.
Joshua Rudnik grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the eastern plains of Colorado, locations from which he continually draws his inspiration. He holds a B.A. in English from Metropolitan University of Denver and an M.A. from the University of South Dakota and he is currently working on his Ph.D. in creative writing, focusing on poetry and creative nonfiction. While Joshua’s main writing endeavors focus on childhood nostalgia, his research interests include Native American studies, postcolonial/decolonization theory, and a growing interest in ecocriticism. His fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in Metrosphere. During the summer semester, Joshua teaches English courses at the Indian University of North America at Crazy Horse.
Russell Shaffer’s interests include historical fiction, wartime fiction, historiographic metafiction, 20th century American literature, American history and children's literature. His publications include "Pit Bull in Pink Chiffon," Vermillion Literary Project, 2016; "Patchwork Stars," Furrow, 2014; and "Those Who Will not Hear," Furrow, 2013. Recent presentations include "Treehouse Soldiers," IdeaFest 2016, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota; and "Rooting for the Wrong," Red River Graduate Student Conference 2016, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota. Russell’s dissertation is titled “Treehouse Soldiers.”
Lindsay Stephens studies 20th and 21st-century American literature, with an emphasis on the American West, frontier mythologies, environmental extraction and ecocatastrophe. She is particularly interested in the works of Wallace Stegner, Mari Sandoz, James Welch and William Kittredge (among many others), and she approaches these texts through a range of lenses, particularly ecocriticism, settler colonial studies and place studies. Her essay “Mobile Stickers and the Specter of Snugness: Place-Making in Pa Ingalls’s Dakota Territory,” will soon be published in the collection Laura Ingalls Wilder: Critical Perspectives, edited by Anne Phillips and Miranda Green-Barteet. Stephens presented an early version of this paper at the John R. Milton Writers’ Conference at USD in October 2016, and she presented her essay “‘In Scented Petroleum Dimness’: Petromodernity in Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland” at the Western Literature Association conference in Big Sky, Montana in September 2016. A skier, hiker and rock-climbing guide, Stephens has also written the historical Black Hills guidebook The Adventure Climbs of Herb and Jan Conn, published in 2008.
Allison Syman is a second-year M.A. student and teaching assistant, specializing in creative writing. She earned her B.S. in English from Black Hills State University, with a double minor in professional writing and American Indian studies. Before returning to school, Allison worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer and a university financial aid secretary. She is currently the PR chair for USD’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta and an assistant editor for South Dakota Review. Her latest project, a creative thesis, explores questions of generational trauma regarding land cultivation or colonization – inspired by growing up in the forested space within the Black Hills.
Kerstin Tuttle has interests in Kurt Vonnegut, postmodern American literature, Marxist criticism, gender studies, contemporary drama and performance studies. She recently presented a creative non-fiction piece titled "Difficult to Swallow" at the 2016 Sigma Tau Delta Conference, which won first place for best creative non-fiction. Upcoming presentations include "Marxism in Wall-E" at the 2017 Sigma Tau Delta Conference.
Steph Whitlow is a master's English student at the University of South Dakota, expected to graduate this coming spring. She is currently working on her M.A. thesis, which focuses on religion and spirituality in British literature, specifically Elizabethan drama, 18th century Gothic literature and British modernism. She received her B.A. in English writing, English literature and psychology from Wayne State College in Nebraska in 2016. Her academic interests include historicist and feminist criticism, but she also enjoys superhero films and caring for her many pets.
Wes Yeary’s interests lie in contemporary and 20th-century American literature, such as Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner. He has historically been interested in object oriented ontology and posthumanism, but has a budding interest in familial and theological elements in literature. His first publication, “‘What if I said that he’s a god?’: Messianism in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road,” will appear in the collection, Essays on Dystopian Fiction as a Critique of Culture, slated for publication sometime in 2017.